Will Burning Man return to its roots? Ticket registration starts today, with some twists

Will Burning Man return to its roots as a counterculture gathering for the masses? Organizers this year are tweaking the event to make it more inclusive, starting with registration for tickets, which begins Wednesday at noon and ends Friday.

Actual tickets go on sale April 10 for the event, which runs Aug. 25 through Sept. 2 in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada.

Now in its 33rd year, Burning Man has attracted an increasingly elite crowd that populates luxury camps within Black Rock City, a homegrown metropolis on a dry lake bed.

Marian Goodell, CEO of the Burning Man Project, blasted the “commodification and exploitation of Black Rock City and Burning Man culture” in a February blog post. Organizers’ efforts to reverse such “troubling trends” start this year with the ticketing process, with adjustments mostly focused on prioritizing “Directed Group Sales” and expanding access to the “Low Income Ticket” program.

“Directed Group Sale” tickets, which support collaborative group participation, will be prioritized ahead of the “Pre-Sale” ticket category, and this group will be allocated 10 percent more tickets. The application-based “Low Income Ticket Program” will grow by 18 percent.

Burning Man is also getting rid of its “Limited Sale” category, which allowed attendants to purchase $1,200 tickets in July, and is reducing high-priced ticket sales by 30 percent.

The party still isn’t cheap. Tickets are $425 each, with parking passes priced at $100.

In her blog post, Goodell said that the goal of the changes is to “ensure that those willing to make the trek to Black Rock City are ready to contribute” and to discourage the growth of the Instagram influencer-style commodification of the desert gathering. These changes are an extension of Burning Man Project’s initiative Project Citizenship, which began in 2017 to promote “civic responsibility and participation.”

The theme of the event this year is “Metamorphoses.”